322 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE probably the most typical example of our taste. Being not oily, it has a certain fairy-like "fugitive" quality about it. But the most important principle is that it lends flavour to meat (especially pork) cooked with it, and, on the other hand, it receives the flavour of the pork itself. This is the second principle, that of mixing of flavours. The whole culinary airt of China depends on the art of mixture. While the Ch nese recognize that many things, like fresh fish, must be cooked in their own juice, in general they mix flavours a great deal more than Western cooks do. No one, for instance, knows how cabbage tastes until he has tasted it when properly cooked with chicken, and the chicken flavour has gone into the cabbage and the cabbage flavour has gone into the chicken. From this principle of mixture, any number of fine and delicate combina- tions can be developed. Celery, for instance, may be eaten raw and alone, but when Chinese see, in a foreign dinner, vegetables like spinach or carrots cooked separately and then served on the same plate with pork or roast goose, they smile at the barbarians. The Chinese, whose sense of proportion is so wonderfully acute in painting and architecture, seem to have completely lost it in the matter of food, to which they give themselves whole-heartedly when they seat themselves around a dinner- table. Any big course, like the fat duck, coming after twelve or thirteen other courses, should be a sufficient meal in itself for any human being. This is due to a false standard of courtesy, and to the fact that as course after course is served during dinners, the people are supposed to be occupied in different wine-games or contests of poetry during the intervals, which naturally lengthens the time required and gives more time for the stomach to assimilate the food. Most probably the relatively lower efficiency of Chinese government officials is due directly to the fact that all of them are subjected to an inhuman routine of three or four dinners a night* One-fourth of their food goes to nourish them and three-fourths to kill them. That accounts for the prevalence of rich men's ailments, like diseases of the liver and the kidneys, which are periodically announced in the newspapers when these officials see fit to retire from the poli- tical arena for reasons of convenience.